Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the Message of January 25, 1998
I greet you all and wish you a good New Year, also much strength and joy in following on the path to Jesus with Mary. Let us again think back to the Christmas 1997 message, and to ask ourselves the questions -- where is God in our lives? Is He in the first place? Have we done anything in the direction that Mary suggested to us? To place God in the first place. Is there goodness in our hearts? Can we offer peace to others? And it is especially important that we ask ourselves whether we wish goodness to all those around us. Do we have the inner strength, which comes out of love, to say to every person, especially to those who have caused us difficulties, "I wish you goodness", and to ask those whom we have wounded for forgiveness. This is the fundamental condition for peace. Mary also called us to be joyful and to extend our hands to Jesus who is goodness. I hope that our answer is positive. If not then we ought to think about it and again ask God that He may retake the first place in our heart, and that He may free us of everything that hinders us from letting Him do so.
At the moment Vicka and Jacov are in Italy, as is Marija. Mirjana and Ivanka are here in Meğugorje. As we know Ivanka has secluded herself completely with her family and she does not meet with pilgrims. She lives a quiet life, just as a mother with three children can also do. Regarding pilgrims, this is a really quiet time as always, but still there are smaller groups from Poland, France, Italy, England and Germany. I was in Poland from January 12 to 24 with two young men from Sr. Elvira's Community. Every day we had several meetings and there were many people wherever we went. Especially interesting was taking part in the Polish Radio Maria. It is a radio station that came about by way of experiences that people have had in Meğugorje, and today it covers all of Poland and has also gone as far as Russia, the Ukraine, Canada and the United States. It is a true work of Mary's, for they spread the message, they pray 3 Rosaries every day, and it is really 'Mary's Voice in the Family' as they call themselves.
Mary has again given us a message on the 25th of this month. We can easily just attach this message to the last sentence of the Christmas message in which Mary calls us to extend our hands to Jesus who is only Goodness.
TODAY AGAIN I CALL ALL OF YOU TO PRAYER
She is really untiring with us, as she also told us in a message. How often and how many times has she invited us to prayer?! I am certain that many people also try to respond to this fully. All over the world there are people who started to pray because they had made contact with Meğugorje, and who also are continuing untiringly to pray. Here I again wish to speak a bit about prayer. Prayer is a meeting with God, and for this meeting one needs time. The great excuse that we so often give is that I have no time. Let's not forget that this is never true when we accuse time -- there is time. The only problem is a lack of love toward God. The problem is our relationship toward God. Then it is important that we are careful not to let prayer become an egotistic activity such as when we need something, only then do we suddenly have time for prayer. When we are in need of nothing, then we do not pray. It is only possible with love toward God that we change our prayer. Prayer is also a language, and to speak a language one must simply practice. Among many Christians it has happened as it also has with many students in school -- they learn some rules and some grammar, but they do not practice the language and so it remains unused and slowly is forgotten. So here again Mary wishes of us that we decide for and then practice our prayer, here not neglecting the word 'again'. Now she tells us...
ONLY WITH PRAYER ... WILL YOUR HEART CHANGE
When we meet the good, the merciful, the loving God, then the good, the merciful and the good will also enter into our hearts. This then is the change in our hearts. With this change then we must become very conscious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In Him we will recognize how our heart is meant to be, when He says of Himself that His is of humble and mild heart. Then this too is the path for us to take and the goal for us to reach -- that we stay on the path with Mary. She will teach us the best how Jesus is, and how His Heart is. The Pope says in his 1997 Encyclical MOTHER OF THE REDEEMER that Mary can teach us better who Jesus really is than all the Saints together because she was His mother and His teacher. And therefore with Mary we are in the best school possible for us to come to know Jesus, so that we know His Heart, and that our heart may then also change. There is a saying, "Tell me with whom you associate with, and I will tell you who you are." ...and certainly also how you are. When we are with Jesus who is goodness, then we also will become filled with goodness. When we experience His mercy, His love and His peace, then our hearts too will open themselves to the same and our hearts will become similar to His. Mary also says that our hearts should...
Today more than ever before, we need good people with good hearts. When one wishes to say something positive and kind about another person, quickly then we say that he has a heart. In the same way when one wants to say something negative, then one says that he has no heart. God has shown us that He has a heart for us, and this Jesus revealed to us. We need good parents, parents with hearts and so too teachers, professors, politicians, and Presidents. We need people who have a heart. A teacher once gave her students the assignment to draw people. As she collected the work, she was astonished how the children experience the world around them. Many had drawn people skinny as skeletons, but with huge muscles. Others were drawn with a large head, while others were drawn with a large wallet. One or two students drew figures who had at their center a heart. Perhaps things are just this way, but they may not stay that way. Our hearts must become good if we expect the others to become good. The problem to...
BE MORE SENSITIVE TO THE WORD OF GOD
...is a constant problem for all of us. Mary expressed this same wish in last November's message when she said toward the end that our heart must become sensitive toward the Word of God. Immediately the question arises what it is that hinders us from listening to and from acting on the Word of God? These are the situations in our hearts and souls as well as the situations in the world. When we are, for instance, concentrating too much upon the material things, then we will not become sensitive toward the Word of God. When we have hate or jealousy in our hearts, then it is very difficult to expect someone to listen and react to the word, "Love and forgive one another." So, we must really work on our becoming sensitive to the Word of God, but even more so, we must pray for it. That is what is the most important, to try to hear God, and then also in meeting with others to react upon the Word of God. Every person whom we meet is in some way a Word of God for us. A poor person calls us to goodness. A sick or sad person, or a person who has lost the purpose for life is for us always a chance to hear the Word of God, and then to specifically to do something with that person. When we act this way, then we will certainly become good witnesses for God's love and mercy. In this message Mary again speaks of Satan's activities. In many earlier messages Mary spoke often of him and his work. Everything that she has said about him can be outlined in four points. She confirms that he exists. She tells us that he is strong and is untiringly in his efforts against sanctity and peace. She tells us that he brings confusion. To all this she says pray and have no fear, and then pray more and everything will turn out for the good. In another message she called us not to cooperate with Satan but to decide for the good. In this message she says...
DO NOT ALLOW SATAN TO PULL YOU APART AND TO DO WITH YOU WHAT HE WANTS
It is not difficult to discover or to feel what Satan wants of us. He wants us to cooperate with him in doing what is bad, and he also wants to hinder us from doing what is good. The mentality, which is so prevalent today, is one where in a way we become ashamed to do what is good, or when one lacks the courage to do so is already a beginning of his success. Or when a curse spoken on the street is more common than a prayer. This too is a success for what is evil. Many people look upon the negative among the others, and then rationalize it and allow their own sin or evil to occur. Then too it becomes Satan's success. He wants to pull us, our hope, our love, our faith in God, our trust apart like a piece of meat. He wants to destroy our families, our communities, our Church and the whole world. Perhaps we ought to discover especially his work among the young, when so many young live without any kind of joy, but instead in complete sorrow. How many have lost all purpose in life? This is why they so easily fall into alcoholism, drugs, an immoral and irresponsible way of life. Every one of us, when we say, "it is not my responsibility or interest, someone should attend to that", is in some way cooperating with Satan. So we must give God the first place and then very consciously to work along with Him. We must be especially careful that what is bad does not become the norm, and at the same time that we do not become convinced that it is not worth fighting against what is evil. When such a situation takes hold in our hearts, then Satan has torn us back and forth, and he has won. This is clearly not what Mary wishes because she is the mother who with her child fights against what is bad. Everyone who wishes seriously to become a good student in Mary's school must decide to be against Satan and all that is bad, and to fight as St. Paul said "to the blood" so that Satan does not get the upper hand in our lives and in this world. This depends upon every one of us.
I CALL YOU TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND DETERMINED
Our responsibility goes along two paths. First of all to seriously enlist ourselves against all that is negative and evil in our lives and families, our Church and in the world. That we become responsible in our families when we as parents or as mother and father are responsible toward the children, when the children become responsible in school, when our leaders become responsible in politics for justice, for truth, and for love. Therein lies our responsibility, and in a special way our responsibility lies in that we decide for prayer, as Mary tells us over and over again. We must be careful in our decisions. Often perhaps we decide for something that is good, but then we tire and let it go again. The decision can come out of meditation that Mary asked of us in the message before Christmas. Whoever meditates and reflects will always discover what is important, and from what is important he will be able to make his good decisions, and the inner peace is then the assurance that we then also stay with the decision. Mary wishes us...
TO CONSECRATE EACH DAY TO GOD IN PRAYER
Here we are especially being directed to morning prayer where we must very consciously renew our decision to cooperate with God throughout the new day. That we very consciously bring to God all the gifts that we have been given, and that we will want to do everything that day for His glory and honor, no matter what our work may be. Everything ought to be consecrated to God. Once we have acted upon the Christmas message, meaning that God has taken the first place in our lives, then every day and everything that we do will become consecrated to Him. If we decide, for instance, to pray the joyful Mystery of the Rosary at the beginning of the day, then we have all necessary elements for our decision for God, and in so doing we say to God, "I am here, Thy will be done." In this way we have then consecrated the day to God. Then we will also be able to meet the others as Mary met with Elizabeth. Then God will be born in our midst, and we will then praise God and become people of good will. Then we will also, as Mary did, offer our entire lives for the others, and were it to happen that we might lose contact with God, then, just like Mary, we will again easily find Him. Then Mary touches upon the center of our Christianity.
MAY HOLY MASS ... NOT BE A HABIT FOR YOU, BUT LIFE
This sentence is addressed most especially to those who only come to Mass on Sundays, but also to those who come more often. It is always a danger for us when we live something daily that we then forget or no longer experience how great something is. We easily become blind toward the good in the people around us, and in the same way, we easily become blind toward God's love for us that is shown to us in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus has become bread for us. He gives His whole life for us. He forgives us and He wishes to heal us. He speaks with us and he is Emmanuel -- God with us. This fact -- that God is so close to us and has become our daily sustenance -- should really engage us every day. We really should pray for the grace to discover this enormous love of God every day, and that this love then moves us to live in this same way. Only through Holy Mass, only through our meeting with Jesus as bread, will we...
BY LIVING HOLY MASS EVERY DAY, YOU WILL FEEL THE NEED FOR HOLINESS AND YOU WILL GROW IN HOLINESS
This then is what makes Mary say that Holy Mass ought to become our life. When Jesus forgives us in Mass, when He speaks to us, when he offers Himself for us, when we say before Holy Communion, "speak one word and my soul will be healed", and when we hear the word "go in peace", then we can, once we have left the church, say that our Mass begins for the others. When we forgive, when we speak of God, when we do something or say something good for the others, then Holy Mass continues throughout the day and then it also continues acting for us and through our lives then also for the rest of the world. Here we must be careful however because either we become holy through Holy Mass in being healed, or we become great egotists in that we wish to be healed, we wish to hear the Word of God, we wish to receive Jesus' body and blood, but then when we are outside we again do not wish to forgive, we do not speak of God, we do not give of ourselves for the others, and do not do or say what might heal the others. So, Holy Mass is really a great challenge for us Christians and therefore it should really not develop into a mere habit but rather into our real lives and a real assignment. It is here that we all find our responsibility and our decision, and only in this way can we consecrate each day and our whole lives to God. Then at the end Mary says...
I AM CLOSE TO YOU
It is now 16 years and 7 months that Mary is close to us and makes her pilgrimage with us as the Pope said in MOTHER OF THE REDEEMER. To feel her proximity is certainly a grace that was given to so many people here in Meğugorje, and only for this reason does Meğugorje continue and bring so many fruits in so very many souls throughout the whole world.
AND INTERCEDE BEFORE GOD FOR EACH OF YOU
Mary praying for each of us must be a consolation and a hope for all of us. And the intention of her prayer is...
SO THAT HE MAY GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO CHANGE YOUR HEART
What she has said to us at the beginning is here now promised by her, so she will be praying for this intention. We all know that she is our strong intercessor before God, and we hope that therefore really all hearts will be opening themselves and becoming better. Let us pray...
God, our Father, we thank You that You are our Father. We thank You that You through Your Son Jesus revealed Yourself as the good and merciful Father. We thank You for the humble and merciful heart of Your Son Jesus Christ, and we beseech You now along with Mary, Your humble servant, give us the strength so that our hearts will change. Take all hearts of stone from our breasts and give us new hearts. Take all hardness from us and give us Your goodness. Take the lie from us and fill us with Your truth. Take away all hate and jealousy and give us Your love. Free us of all mercilessness so that we may have Your merciful heart. We ask on behalf of all those responsible in the Church and the world that You may change their hearts, that they may become instruments of peace in this world. Send Your Holy Spirit so that He may bring order to wherever there is disorder, light to wherever there is darkness, and love wherever there hate reigns. And make us witnesses of Your love so that we may become responsible for Your Kingdom, and that we may choose the path with You. Lord, we ask You for the Pope, all Bishops, and all Priests that they may come to celebrate Holy Mass with love, that Holy Mass may become life for them. Call through Holy Spirit many young people for their service in the Church, so that they may grow in love for the Holy Mass. We also ask you for all those who come to Holy Mass that they may not attend it by habit but with love, and that everyone who attends Holy Mass may take Holy Communion in the way that will make his life a holy Mass. We beg You, O Lord, give us the strength that we may resist Satan, and that we may become strong in holding with You. Heal the faith, the love and the hope of all people, and especially those who at this moment are being pulled apart by Satan, and free all those to whom Satan is doing what he wants. Free us, our families, and the whole Church, and especially we beg You for all those who have consecrated themselves to Satan, all satanic groups, free them O Lord, because only You are their God and their Lord! We ask this along with Mary, Your most humble servant, through Your Holy Spirit, and make us witnesses of Your peace. May it be this way. Amen.
Last Modified 01/30/98